“My favourite trait is redemption. I believe that there is a better version of us around every corner, and I have seen firsthand how organisations, communities and individuals change at breathtaking speed,” says Frances Frei, Harvard Business school professor and culture consultant for giants the likes of Uber and WeWork in her TED Talk. Frei’s impressive work on creating positive change within companies by building trust and empathy is a shining example of the necessity that is the people-centered discipline of change management.
While human beings are innately champions of change, the fourth industrial revolution has presented a landscape where we can barely keep up with the changes we create ourselves. Every day there is a new TED Talk on how to do things differently for better results, and new technology is developed requiring new skills. It’s an exhilarating time in evolution, but to stay ahead of the game it’s more necessary than ever to guide and support people in remaining agile. This is where change management comes in- navigating and adapting the people side of change. By addressing three key areas, businesses can thrive and remain agile by supporting employees with a holistic set of tools to ride the waves of change.
All evolution and transformation begins with awareness. The movement from a current state to a future state ignites through awareness. The foundation of change is built on preparing people with the 5 “W’s” and an “H”:
Awareness is built around a framework of education. It is imperative to equip employees with the awareness and information around structures that have changed or are geared towards change so that employees and businesses at large can be conscious participants in, and champions of positive transformation.
Create Desire for Change
With the fuel of awareness set in place, we are ready for the momentum of desire. Evoking desire for change breaks down resistance and not only moves people into accepting it, but wanting it. People become willing and open to adapt mindsets and behaviour once they are motivated by desire. Evoking desire requires painting vivid pictures and developing compelling arguments routed in the positive effects of changing and the threats of not changing. We can evoke desire by inspiring employees with the success and rewards on the other side of change; simultaneously we can provoke aversion to stagnancy and complacency by revealing its threats Dr Wayne Dyer says, “if one of us succeeds, we all succeed.” Integrating this notion into company culture and particularly the change processes helps gear agents of change towards a common goal (success for everyone) that is motivated by individual desire for success.
Tools for Sustaining Change
Getting everyone on board with change (a mammoth task in itself) is only the beginning. For people to move with, rise above and own personal, company and global evolution, they need tools. Awareness and desire must be supported by skills and techniques for change to transpire. Agility takes equipping people with emotional, social and strategic capabilities to manage both internal and external forces of change. Transformation can only be sustained through resilience, innovation techniques, strategies to maintain focus, and much more.
Truly leading change takes dedicated focus, educational investment and change champions who are invested in building awareness and desire, and integrating the necessary tools. Google’s thorough study on change management “The Value of Change Management” revealed that the most effective change programmes offered training before and after transitions in the company.
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